Telecom operators in India will need to adapt to a changing world

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The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has released a white paper titled The Future of Telecommunications: As Wireless Earnings Wane, Carriers Confront Hard Choices, which guides executives at telecom companies on future business direction and strategy.  After a period of spectacular growth, the telecom market in India appears to have hit the brakes over the past year.  Despite record growth in new mobile subscriptions, revenues have flattened. The industry braces itself for a major investment cycle for 3G and broadband wireless access (BWA) services over the coming years. While the historical services of operators have matured, new opportunities on the horizon could add momentum to an industry showing signs of slowing down. These include mobile data services, consumer broadband, cloud computing and machine-to-machine connectivity.

Mobile data services currently account for between 10 and 15 per cent of mobile operator revenues. The market for telecom services for SMEs in India is estimated at around Rs 100 billion.  This has a potential to grow to Rs 250 billion in the next five years with the adoption of cloud based applications. Yet, to shape and address these opportunities, operators will need to develop new capabilities and take on new non-traditional competitors, including IT services providers and players like Google and Skype who are threatening to make inroads into revenue pools hitherto the exclusive domain of telecom operators.

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